A woman accused of killing her six-year-old stepson sounded like it was ‘trying make excuses’ after his sudden fall, a court heard. 

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes was allegedly killed after enduring a ‘campaign of cruelty’ at the hands of his father Thomas Hughes, 29, and stepmother Emma Tustin, 32.   

Hughes and Tustin are believed to have subjected the child’s to systematic abuse “designed to terrorize” the youngster.

Arthur was allegedly starved, forced to stand in a hallway for 14 hour a day, and poisoned with salt. He was then attacked and killed at his home in Solihull, West Midlands in June last year.

Prosecutors claim that Tustin attacked the schoolboy and left him with ‘unsurvivable brain traumas’. The boy’s stepfather and stepmother denied murder and multiple charges of child cruelty.  

A neighbour gave first aid to Arthur when he collapsed last June 16, 2013. 

Nurse Carol Miller described to Coventry Crown Court the moment Tustin came to her house and told her: “He’s knocked him clean out.”

Mrs Miller said that she was ‘absolutely distressed’ to see the six year-old unresponsive. However, she added about Tustin that she ‘never once asked Arthur how he was.

She said, “She [Tustin]She was quite unpredictable – it sounded like she was trying make excuses. It was constant, her mouth was just moving.

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes (pictured above with his father), six, was found with dozens of bruises from his head to his feet, post-mortem examinations showed

Arthur Labinjo Hughes, six, (pictured above, with his father) was found with dozens more bruises, post-mortem exams showed. 

The boy was systematically abused by Thomas Hughes, 29, and his 32-year-old partner Emma Tustin (pictured above), it is alleged, before being killed in June last year

It is claimed that the boy was repeatedly abused by Thomas Hughes (29), and Emma Tustin (32), before being murdered in June 2013.

Prosecutors claim the youngster was subjected by Hughes and Tustin to months of cruelty, which matches the’medical definitions of child abuse’.

Tustin claimed that Arthur’s head injuries were self-inflicted in a 999 call 12 minutes after Arthur was discovered unresponsive. She claimed that he had bludgeoned his head on the floor, on all fours.

Mrs Miller stated that she tried to find Arthur’s pulse while emergency crews raced to the rescue. She described the boy as pale with a massive blue bruise on his forehead.

Mrs Miller recalled her conversations with Tustin and said to the court: “She said something about him; that they had been having difficulties.”

“I said that you had sought help ?”.. She stated that she had spoken to the school about her concerns, but that the school didn’t see any problems with her son’s behavior.

“She was saying things such as “he’s nutted me, tried to push me down stairs, he hates, he tells I’m his mum  

Prosecutors claim Tustin killed the youngster, and that Hughes ‘intentionally encouraged the killing’.

The court heard how Arthur spent more than 14 hours a day 'segregated and isolated' in a hallway and was made to sleep on a living room floor

Arthur was told by the court that he spent more than 14 hours each day’segregated, isolated’ in a hallway. He was then made to sleep on a floor of a living room. 

Jurors were previously told how Arthur (pictured) was 'repeatedly poisoned with salt-contaminated food and fluids' in 'brutal controlling circumstances'

Jurors were previously told that Arthur (pictured), was’repeatedly poisoned’ with salt-contaminated foods and fluids in ‘brutal control circumstances’

Hughes was captured on police bodycam footage telling officers how he returned to the shops, where Tustin had purchased a cake, to find Arthur unresponsive.

He said, “I went to Sainsbury’s for a cake. Tomorrow is my partner’s special day.” She phoned me back as I was returning home and said, “You need to come back because he has bumped his skull and knocked himself out-thrown himself on concrete floor.”

Jurors were told that the child was’repeatedly contaminated with salt-contaminated foods and fluids’ under ‘brutal control circumstances’.

His salt level was so high upon his arrival at the hospital that one consultant suggested she questioned if her machine had failed.

Arthur was allegedly made to sleep on a living-room floor after he was’segregated’ and isolated for more than 14 hours. Jurors heard texts between Hughes and Tustin describing alleged abuse.

Hughes threatened to ‘take off his jaws’ and told Tustin, “Just gag him or something.” Attach a rope to Hughes’ mouth and wrap a sock around it.

One witness testified that Arthur was too weak to even hold a glass water in his mouth.

They also claimed that his clothes were stained, his lips cracked, he couldn’t open his mouth to speak, and that his hair was dirty and his nails were rusted.

An earlier part of the trial, a medical expert stated that Arthur was shaken and slammed by’very severe force’.

According to Daniel Du Plessis, consultant neuropathologist, the jury was told that forceful gripping took place and that the head was struck against a firm surface. I believe that an average woman could do this physically.

The schoolboy died from 'unsurvivable brain injuries' a day after being allegedly attacked by Tustin at her home near Solihull, West Midlands

The schoolboy succumbed to ‘unsurvivable brain injury’ just one day after being allegedly assaulted by Tustin at her Solihull, West Midlands home.

Dr Du Plessis is a brain scan expert and said that Arthur’s chances of sustaining fatal head injuries are ‘inconceivable’.

Jonas Hankin QC, opened the trial and stated that both defendants were involved in a campaign for cruelty to cause Arthur severe pain and suffering.

‘Violence, intimidation, both verbal and physical, were a routine.

“Arthur’s obvious injuries, his poor physical condition and apparent despair served as a reminder to each defendant of the extremes that the other would go to to do him harm.

Tustin sent a message to Arthur, who was in critical condition at the hospital. She had also arranged to buy balloons for her birthday from Tustin. 

Jonas Hankin, who is a QC, was the prosecutor. She told how she messaged the “balloon lady” and said: “Sorry, lovely not being able to collect.” 

Under surveillance at her house, Tustin sent Hughes a WhatsApp text asking: “How come you haven’t texted me?”

She continued, “Don’t say that this is me. They are waiting for an update on what’s happening. I can’t have a shower or f*** all. 

“Sat here being observed.” Haven’t done f*** all.’ 

Tustin also added, “Don’t worry about that.” I will deal with the consequences of what he has done. Could be arrested for something I haven’t done.  

The trial continues.